How to know if you need a coach or a therapist

live your best life May 20, 2022

Let’s face it. Life isn’t easy. It’s tough and gutwrenching at times. And we can easily feel overwhelmed.  Plus we live in a world that’s chaotic, violent, unpredictable, scary, and more than our brains can handle.

This is why I encourage everyone to reach out and get help when they need it. I’ve been a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist for 30 years and I’ve also been a life coach for 17 years. I love both of these ways of helping people, but they are very different. 

If you're struggling in some way right now, or life isn't what you hoped it would be and you're not sure what to do, you may not know exactly what you need. 

Therapy and coaching are not the same. It's important to know the difference so you can make the best choice for yourself. To help you to do this here is some guidance on how to know if you need a coach or a therapist. 

Working with a Therapist

Therapists, also known as mental health counselors, deal with mental health issues like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorders, and trauma.  They will work with you to resolve problematic beliefs and behaviors and help you change self-destructive habits.  

A therapist can also help you navigate grief and loss issues as well as help you let go of guilt and shame. They can also help you come to terms with a childhood history that may be impacting you in a negative way.  You can resolve these issues even after a lifetime of struggle with a compassionate and skillful therapist. 

Therapists will give you hope and tools to enable you to deal with things like anxiety and depression. Therapists are non-judgmental. They have advanced degrees and are licensed by the state they practice in. 

If you’re struggling to function in your life, are anxious, depressed, or find it difficult to cope, then therapy can be extremely helpful. 

Working with a Coach

A life coach, on the other hand, focuses more on where you are now and where you want to be in your life. 

You might feel unhappy with your life or feel out of balance and just want someone to help you get clear on what to do to make things better and then help you go in the direction of your desires. 

Sometimes we only know what we don’t want in our lives but we may not be clear on what we DO want or what will make us happy.

A coach begins with the idea that you’re working together to discover what your values are and what you want now for your life. They will help you explore the things that bring you joy and fulfillment. 

A coach can help you open up to different perspectives, and expand your ideas of what is actually possible. 

They will help you deal with the obstacles that appear. These are saboteurs (the negative things we tell ourselves) that can hold you back and they can be a blind spot unless you get help with being aware and how to override them so they don’t hold you back. 

A coach can help with giving yourself permission to dream big and how to realize your potential. They will never tell you what to do, rather they will guide you to be the best version of yourself. 

A big part of the coaching process is helping you get into action with your goals. You will have homework that you agree to and implement in between sessions. 

A coach will hold you accountable to help you achieve your goals. They may get tough with you if you want or gently nudge you to make sure you’re not slacking off. 

They will listen on a deep level to help mirror back what you’ve said, and enable you to uncover your saboteurs which is actually fear and can lead to false thinking that what you want is impossible.

When you’re out of balance in your work life, your relationships, or your time, a coach can be transformative in making your life easier and more of what you want. 

Give yourself the opportunity to have a better life

Once you’ve decided which type of help you need, therapy or coaching, it’s so important that you give yourself the opportunity to work with either a coach or therapist so that you can have a better life. 

Life is way too short to spend it in constant struggle or not being able to be who you were always meant to be. 

I’m always in admiration of people who walk through my door or pick up the phone to call for an appointment as it takes courage sometimes to admit that you need help. 

It takes courage to get help. You don’t have to do life alone.

I feel really sad when people tell me their spouse or someone they love refuses to get help, either by therapy or coaching, because they think they don’t need it or they secretly are afraid of being judged. You don’t have to do life alone. 

Work with me

At this point in my career, I’m mainly focused on coaching. I love everything about it and continue to get coaching for myself.  

Many times therapists will refer to a life coach as a method to speed up forward movement or help them get unstuck. I can work with you and if I see that you need therapy, I can help you find someone to work that piece with you. 

I’m passionate about helping women step into their power and living life fully, without regret. 

This work is sacred to me and I’m deeply honored that people trust me to hold so carefully the most vulnerable parts of themselves. 

I believe in the person I’m coaching. I can see their strengths and admire their courage. I point their uniqueness out, especially when they can’t recognize these strengths in themselves., 

I believe we all need encouragement and hope. And that we need others to help us have the best possible life. 

I can help. Let me work with you. 

Life is too short to wait to get what you want. 

Set up a free discovery session with me today. Don't wait. 

Read about how therapy changed my life here.


Stay connected

Get my latest advice and tips, retreat programs, events and offers delivered to your inbox.

Women's Special Fall Online Weekend Retreat

Friday 25 September - Sunday 27 September

Fall is a time for us to slow down, to ground ourselves and to nourish our bodies. This retreat is designed to help you stop and listen to what it is you need right now. It's a fun and restorative weekend with mindfulness exercises, morning yoga, an online cooking class with the fabulous Chef Bai, healthy recipes to try at home, meditations and group calls to connect you with other women.